Have you ever heard of the dark triads? They are 3 distortions which are found in a person’s character. The 3 dark triads are Narcissism , Machiavellianism and Psychopathy. They have certain characteristics which, at first glance, can be very helpful to climb up the career ladder.
First an explanation (Thank you Wikipedia):
The narcissistic personality (in the clinical sense) is characterized by a grandiose self-view, a sense of entitlement, lack of empathy, and egotism.
The Machiavellian personality is characterized by manipulation and exploitation of others, with a cynical disregard for morality and a focus on self-interest and deception.
The psychopathic personality is characterized by impulsive thrill-seeking, and in its “primary” form by selfishness, callousness, lack of personal affect, superficial charm, and remorselessness.
Research has shown that amongst lawyers, surgeons and CEO’s, a significant number of people posses at least one of the 3 triads. This is easy to explain, since especially those high-level jobs require you to have some of the characteristics developed which are often found with people suffering from a personality disorder.
So which of the dark triads characteristics can make you successful?
Lack of empathy and remorselessness
Generally, being empathic is a good thing. It will help you understand what other people are going trough and ensure you treat people with respect. In business however, a lack of empathy can be a helpful disorder to posses. It will make it easier for you to fire people who are not performing well, regardless whether they have a mortgage or a baby. And it will help you cut relations with people who are not helpful to you. Lack of empathy can translate easily to remorselessness. And in business you sometimes need to do things which would make you feel guilty under different circumstances.
Egotism and focus on self-interest
Caring about other people is a good thing. But in business, it’s sometimes better to be a little self centered. If you try to be realistic, you know that most people take care of themselves and their own needs before they take care of others. So there’s no harm in doing that too. With every business deal, you should ask yourself, ‘what’s in it for me’?
Manipulation and deceive
If you think about it, we manipulate other people on a daily basis. You give your colleague a compliment or try to sell your idea to your boss as if it was his own. People who score high on Machiavellianism tend to manipulate more consciously. They intend to use manipulation to achieve their goals, regardless of whether their manipulation destroys other people’s goals or beliefs. But when used carefully, manipulation can be a powerful tool to get what you want. So don’t hesitate to deceive your way up, but be aware of the consequences and take other people’s feelings into account.
Do you want to find out your own score on the dark triads. Take the test here